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On the interpretation of scalar antonyms and their negated equivalents

Paradis, Carita LU and Willners, Caroline LU (2004) The lexicon
Abstract
Antonymy and negation are phenomena that can be studied from many perspectives. In the literature, antonymy is recognized as the most robust of the lexico-semantic relations, important to both the mental organization of the vocabulary and the organization of coherent discourse (Cruse 1986, Fellbaum 1998, Murphy 2003, Willners 2001 and Jones 2002). "Depending on whom you ask, negation may be a logical operator or a type of speech act, a basic element of semantic representations or a pragmatically loaded form of

communicative interaction" (Israel 2004: 701). In other words, negation is commonly used as an expression of oppositeness as well as a hedging device in discourse, e.g. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good idea to...(Giora... (More)
Antonymy and negation are phenomena that can be studied from many perspectives. In the literature, antonymy is recognized as the most robust of the lexico-semantic relations, important to both the mental organization of the vocabulary and the organization of coherent discourse (Cruse 1986, Fellbaum 1998, Murphy 2003, Willners 2001 and Jones 2002). "Depending on whom you ask, negation may be a logical operator or a type of speech act, a basic element of semantic representations or a pragmatically loaded form of

communicative interaction" (Israel 2004: 701). In other words, negation is commonly used as an expression of oppositeness as well as a hedging device in discourse, e.g. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good idea to...(Giora 2004, Tottie 1991, Tottie & Paradis 1982).

This experiment investigates the interpretation of eight Swedish scalar antonym pairs and their negated equivalents. Our hypothesis is that the negation suppresses the accessibility of the expressed adjective, i.e. not narrow = ‘wide’ and not wide = ‘narrow’. The experiment is designed as follows. There are 32 test sentences and 32 distracters and E-prime is used as experiment software. The adjectives studied are ljus-mörk (light-dark), kort-lång (short-long), smal-bred (narrow-wide), låg-hög (low-high), lätt-tung (light-heavy), lätt-svår (easy-difficult), varm-kall (warm-cold). Each test item is presented with and without negation in a fixed context. The informants are asked to grade their interpretation of an expression on a given scale, e.g. Vägen längs kusten är smal (The road along the coast is narrow) on the scale ‘stig-motorväg’(path-motorway).

Our pilot study shows that there is consensus across the informants concerning the interpretation of the expressions included in the test. The response times for the negated expressions are longer than for the non-negated items, which may show that they are more difficult to process. However, at the time of writing, our results are still inconlusive.Antonymy and negation are phenomena that can be studied from many perspectives. In the literature, antonymy is recognized as the most robust of the lexico-semantic relations, important to both the mental organization of the vocabulary and the organization of coherent discourse (Cruse 1986, Fellbaum 1998, Murphy 2003, Willners 2001 and Jones 2002). "Depending on whom you ask, negation may be a logical operator or a type of speech act, a basic element of semantic representations or a pragmatically loaded form of communicative interaction" (Israel 2004: 701). In other words, negation is commonly used as an expression of oppositeness as well as a hedging device in discourse, e.g. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good idea to...(Giora 2004, Tottie 1991, Tottie & Paradis 1982).

This experiment investigates the interpretation of eight Swedish scalar antonym pairs and their negated equivalents. Our hypothesis is that the negation suppresses the accessibility of the expressed adjective, i.e. not narrow = ‘wide’ and not wide = ‘narrow’. The experiment is designed as follows. There are 32 test sentences and 32 distracters and E-prime is used as experiment software. The adjectives studied are ljus-mörk (light-dark), kort-lång (short-long), smal-bred (narrow-wide), låg-hög (low-high), lätt-tung (light-heavy), lätt-svår (easy-difficult), varm-kall (warm-cold). Each test item is presented with and without negation in a fixed context. The informants are asked to grade their interpretation of an expression on a given scale, e.g. Vägen längs kusten är smal (The road along the coast is narrow) on the scale ‘stig-motorväg’(path-motorway).

Our pilot study shows that there is consensus across the informants concerning the interpretation of the expressions included in the test. The response times for the negated expressions are longer than for the non-negated items, which may show that they are more difficult to process. However, at the time of writing, our results are still inconlusive.

All abstracts: http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/tapahtumat/lexicon/Lexicon%202004%20Abstracts.pdf (Less)
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author
organization
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Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
psycholinguistics, negation, antonymy, experiment
conference name
The lexicon
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
dee5d22a-83ff-40b9-bc11-5023c338b4e1 (old id 538775)
date added to LUP
2007-09-24 14:53:40
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:30:53
@misc{dee5d22a-83ff-40b9-bc11-5023c338b4e1,
  abstract     = {Antonymy and negation are phenomena that can be studied from many perspectives. In the literature, antonymy is recognized as the most robust of the lexico-semantic relations, important to both the mental organization of the vocabulary and the organization of coherent discourse (Cruse 1986, Fellbaum 1998, Murphy 2003, Willners 2001 and Jones 2002). "Depending on whom you ask, negation may be a logical operator or a type of speech act, a basic element of semantic representations or a pragmatically loaded form of<br/><br>
communicative interaction" (Israel 2004: 701). In other words, negation is commonly used as an expression of oppositeness as well as a hedging device in discourse, e.g. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good idea to...(Giora 2004, Tottie 1991, Tottie &amp; Paradis 1982).<br/><br>
This experiment investigates the interpretation of eight Swedish scalar antonym pairs and their negated equivalents. Our hypothesis is that the negation suppresses the accessibility of the expressed adjective, i.e. not narrow = ‘wide’ and not wide = ‘narrow’. The experiment is designed as follows. There are 32 test sentences and 32 distracters and E-prime is used as experiment software. The adjectives studied are ljus-mörk (light-dark), kort-lång (short-long), smal-bred (narrow-wide), låg-hög (low-high), lätt-tung (light-heavy), lätt-svår (easy-difficult), varm-kall (warm-cold). Each test item is presented with and without negation in a fixed context. The informants are asked to grade their interpretation of an expression on a given scale, e.g. Vägen längs kusten är smal (The road along the coast is narrow) on the scale ‘stig-motorväg’(path-motorway).<br/><br>
Our pilot study shows that there is consensus across the informants concerning the interpretation of the expressions included in the test. The response times for the negated expressions are longer than for the non-negated items, which may show that they are more difficult to process. However, at the time of writing, our results are still inconlusive.Antonymy and negation are phenomena that can be studied from many perspectives. In the literature, antonymy is recognized as the most robust of the lexico-semantic relations, important to both the mental organization of the vocabulary and the organization of coherent discourse (Cruse 1986, Fellbaum 1998, Murphy 2003, Willners 2001 and Jones 2002). "Depending on whom you ask, negation may be a logical operator or a type of speech act, a basic element of semantic representations or a pragmatically loaded form of communicative interaction" (Israel 2004: 701). In other words, negation is commonly used as an expression of oppositeness as well as a hedging device in discourse, e.g. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good idea to...(Giora 2004, Tottie 1991, Tottie &amp; Paradis 1982).<br/><br>
This experiment investigates the interpretation of eight Swedish scalar antonym pairs and their negated equivalents. Our hypothesis is that the negation suppresses the accessibility of the expressed adjective, i.e. not narrow = ‘wide’ and not wide = ‘narrow’. The experiment is designed as follows. There are 32 test sentences and 32 distracters and E-prime is used as experiment software. The adjectives studied are ljus-mörk (light-dark), kort-lång (short-long), smal-bred (narrow-wide), låg-hög (low-high), lätt-tung (light-heavy), lätt-svår (easy-difficult), varm-kall (warm-cold). Each test item is presented with and without negation in a fixed context. The informants are asked to grade their interpretation of an expression on a given scale, e.g. Vägen längs kusten är smal (The road along the coast is narrow) on the scale ‘stig-motorväg’(path-motorway).<br/><br>
Our pilot study shows that there is consensus across the informants concerning the interpretation of the expressions included in the test. The response times for the negated expressions are longer than for the non-negated items, which may show that they are more difficult to process. However, at the time of writing, our results are still inconlusive.<br/><br>
All abstracts: http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/tapahtumat/lexicon/Lexicon%202004%20Abstracts.pdf},
  author       = {Paradis, Carita and Willners, Caroline},
  keyword      = {psycholinguistics,negation,antonymy,experiment},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {On the interpretation of scalar antonyms and their negated equivalents},
  year         = {2004},
}